As organizations confront the realities of digital disruption, their finance functions are in an exciting but challenging position. With competition intensifying, they must ensure that the business is agile and efficient, but they must also play a strategic role in innovation and reinvention. Finance will be at the heart of the new data-driven business.
Intelligent automation technologies, including robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, will be crucial. They provide the means to drive cost out of finance, improving the efficiency and quality of its outputs. They also offer the function a way to generate crucial actionable insight for the enterprise and to play the key role in informed decision making.
Capgemini’s latest research suggests that leading organizations in Europe and North America recognize the potential of automation in finance. Around a third of executives in both regions say their organization has already agreed a transformation strategy for automation in the finance function.
Automation is on the agenda for senior leaders of organizations in Europe and North America, with 48% of North American respondents saying there are high levels of awareness among senior leaders; in Europe, the figure drops to 40%. And 82% of North American respondents expect automation in the finance function to have a transformational impact on their business over the next three years, compared with 75% in Europe.
But despite similar levels of awareness, North American businesses appear to be moving further, faster. About three-quarters (74%) have an overall vision of transformation strategy for automation within the finance function, against only 25% in Europe. However, it would be unfair to characterize European businesses as behind the curve on automation. Significant numbers of organizations across Europe report high levels of engagement and prioritization for initiatives in this area, and there is some evidence that they have made better progress with implementation planning.
What does the research results tell us about how businesses in Europe and North America are handling the shift to finance automation?
- Businesses must accelerate adoption of automation technologies in their finance function processes.
- Businesses should look beyond the operational benefits of automation to longer-term, strategic gains.
- Stronger leadership on automation is key, particularly for European organizations.
- Risk mitigation is an important part of automation planning.
- Businesses need to think hard about how to address the skills shortage in automation technology.
Read the full report for a regional spotlight on how intelligent automation is transforming finance.
Read our main “Reimagining finance for the digital age” report that surveys 500 senior finance executives in Europe and North America about how intelligent automation is transforming the finance function.